M'Guinness v. JohnsonAnnotate this Case
In 2013, M’Guinness sued fellow shareholder, Johnson, for claims arising out of the operation of a small construction firm, TLC. M’Guinness also sought involuntary dissolution and appointment of a receiver. Johnson cross-complained against M’Guinness, TLC, and the third TLC shareholder. Johnson was represented by the Casas law firm. The other parties moved to disqualify the firm, claiming it had been retained by TLC as its counsel in 2006, TLC never discharged the firm; the firm never withdrew as counsel. The court denied the motion, finding the evidence insufficient to warrant automatic disqualification based upon a concurrent representation conflict and rejecting a claim of subsequent representation conflict of interest. The court of appeal reversed. The firm continued to represent TLC through the time the lawsuit was instituted. If a party moving to disqualify an attorney establishes concurrent representation, the court is required, “in all but a few instances,” to automatically disqualify the attorney without regard to whether the subject matter of the representation of one client relates to the representation of the second client. While disqualification is a drastic measure and motions to disqualify are sometimes brought for improper tactical reasons, disqualification is not “generally disfavored,” and, in this situation, was required.